Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley asked former president George W. Bush about the then upcoming report from the Senate Intelligence Committee which is expected to be critical of the use of “enhanced interrogation” methods by the CIA, or as most of the world calls it, torture.
Not surprisingly Bush defended the tactics employed by the CIA saying:
“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots. And whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base. And I knew the directors, I knew the deputy directors, you know, I knew a lot of the operators. These are good people, really good people and we’re lucky as a nation to have them.”
He noted that the CIA intends to issue its own report to counter that of the Intelligence Committee.
“We did what we were asked to do, we did what we were assured was legal, and we know our actions were effective,” Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who ran the CIA interrogation program, wrote in the Washington Post on Sunday.
The New York Times reported that Gen. Michael V. Hayden, John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy CIA director who also served as acting director and two former CIA directors have also assured Mr. Bush and other members of his administration that contrary to what the report is expected to say, they never misled him and asked him and his former aides to speak out on their behalf to assure the public that nothing untoward was done in their name.
None of this should come as a surprise. This is the administration that refused to admit that water-boarding is torture and that even if it was prisoners taken in the war on terror, they’re not entitled to the protections provided for under the Geneva Conventions. That opinion came from White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, who gained notoriety when he told Bush that as president anything he chose to do would be legal.
Sources familiar with the report said that it will be critical of CIA interrogation methods in the years immediately after the 9/11 attacks and questions the effectiveness of those methods. It is also reported to suggest that some in the CIA misled the administration and their superiors about methods and results.
Watch the former president’s remarks in the video below.